December 11, 2023


A Home Grown Success

P.E.I. furniture refinisher turns love of antiques into Alberton shop

ALBERTON, P.E.I. — Going for walks by means of the doors of Flippin Classic on Alberton’s Most important Road is like stepping into the past.

Lining the partitions and serving as centrepieces to a variety of displays are pieces of antique home furniture, many of which have been refinished by the shop’s proprietor, Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault.

Regardless of its roots in a bygone age, the retail store also offers fashionable twists. Stocking with locally produced pottery, soaps or candles, or swapping out a table’s previous paint career for a little something present-day, is how MacArthur-Arsenault retains her older parts experience new.

That is, in a nutshell, her passion – making use of old points to develop new beauty.

“I constantly experienced this vision of, like, becoming a member of antiques and my home furniture, due to the fact the home furniture are antiques, right?” reported MacArthur-Arsenault, who opened the doorways to her new storefront in late September.

Classic design and style and antiques experienced usually been a draw for MacArthur-Arsenault.

“My aunt lived in a Victorian residence and I grew up being with her a ton,” she stated. “So, I was constantly mesmerized by the things.”

Correcting up furniture

Irrespective of the lifelong like, MacArthur-Arsenault did not dip her toes into the environment of furniture refinishing right up until 8 decades ago – together with her sister, Kristina Ellis.

The very first factor the siblings mounted up was just one of Ellis’ outdated coffee tables, which they repainted with chalk paint. At the very same time, they transformed an outdated barn doorway into a desk.

Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault was delighted to find retail space in Alberton to start up her new shop, Flippin Vintage. In addition to the store in the front, the space also has a back room for her to work on furniture refinishing. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault was delighted to find retail room in Alberton to start up her new shop, Flippin Classic. In addition to the keep in the entrance, the place also has a back again place for her to operate on furniture refinishing. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

Correct absent, MacArthur-Arsenault fell in really like with the craft and begun marketing her refinished work on-line.

For her, a person of the most crucial matters about restoring aged household furniture is the capability to preserve antique parts.

“I’ve identified it genuinely neat to be able to consider a piece that would finish up in the landfill and give it a new existence, and modernize it a minimal bit for this generation,” she said. “They just never make them like they employed to. Antiques are just stable wood.”

Recognizing a aspiration

Flippin Classic is not MacArthur-Arsenault’s first retail outlet. In the early days of the pandemic, she experienced a boutique in a converted barn in Tyne Valley.

“It was just a minimal barn we converted to a store,” she stated. “I totally loved retail. It was my initial time undertaking retail.”

For the last eight years, Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault has loved refinishing furniture. Now, she has her own shop, where she can sell the pieces she fixes up, alongside other antiques and items made by local artisans. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
For the very last eight yrs, Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault has cherished refinishing home furnishings. Now, she has her own shop, where by she can promote the items she fixes up, together with other antiques and products made by local artisans. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

When effective, the store was limited-lived. Continue to, her enjoy of home furniture restoration and classic as a full remained at the again of her mind.

Immediately after moving to Mill River, MacArthur-Arsenault began to hunt for a spot to open up a new retailer that would host both equally her passions. It wasn’t long ahead of Flippin Vintage was born.

“It has a home in the again for me to do my home furniture over, and I assumed, wow this is variety of meant to be, I assume,” MacArthur-Arsenault. “So, I just dug down and begun to go to auctions and started out to build stock and went all in.”

The procedure

When she first started off refinishing, MacArthur-Arsenault would choose up something and all the things she could come across. Now, when she acquires new pieces – both at auctions or grabs from Fb Marketplace – she focuses on superior-quality wood home furnishings that nonetheless has very good bones.

“I have folks that reach out to me all the time, so I form of know what I’m seeking for,” reported MacArthur-Arsenault. “Right now, I’m seeking for a 5-foot credenza for anyone.”

Flippin Vintage on Main Street sells not only antique furniture, but items from local artisans. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
Flippin Vintage on Most important Street sells not only antique household furniture, but things from regional artisans. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

She avoids beds and reupholstering. Dresser sets, having said that, are her favorite items to contact up.

Immediately after she has a piece in hand she normally takes “before photos” to share on Fb.

Following comes prep operate, like sanding, cleansing and often stripping it to its first state. Ultimately, she stains the home furniture and places on a topcoat. Together the way, she’ll choose movies of the approach when she can.

“Trying to train people to recognize a piece is component of the fun,” she claimed. “People do recognize when they understand, ‘That was built in 1870? How is that even achievable?’”

For Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault, one of the best things about refinishing old furniture is the ability to save antique pieces from being thrown away. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire
For Rhonda MacArthur-Arsenault, 1 of the greatest items about refinishing outdated home furnishings is the means to preserve antique pieces from being thrown away. – Kristin Gardiner/SaltWire

If any one desires to get into refinishing, MacArthur-Arsenault suggests they obtain substantial-top quality parts rather than a cut price and search for out a model of paint that will work ideal for them.

“Find a genuinely excellent mineral paint or chalk paint,” she mentioned. “And good quality instruments. Excellent brushes adjust the game.”

Kristin Gardiner is a reporter with SaltWire in Prince Edward Island. She can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on X @KristinGardiner.